Despite their recent explosion on to the culinary scene, Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer is owned by a man who has spent his entire life in the foodservice industry. Joe Isidori attended the CIA in Hyde Park, New York in 1998 and now owns three Black Tap locations in Soho (2) and the Meatpacking District.
In the eighteen years in between Joe cut his teeth at Nemo Restaurant, Trump International, Harbour Restaurant and others, earning a Michelin Star and a reputation for sustainability and flawless culinary skill along the way. Now he has his dream, two restaurants that represent his “Favorite kind of food, a homage to the quintessential American Luncheonette”. Chef Joe’s exceptional skill and work ethic shine through with intricate milkshakes, high quality work ethic and a ravenous following who wait hours for his creations.
Could you tell us a bit about your background in the foodservice industry?
I’ve been in the foodservice industry my whole life! My dad was a chef and so even growing up, I knew how to cook and loved it. As I got older, I tried out a few different career paths but ultimately attended the Culinary Institute of America, which sealed the deal.
How did Black Tap get its start?
Black Tap represents my favorite kind of food and is a homage to the quintessential American luncheonette. After I got my Michelin star and spent time in fine dining, I knew that this was the type of restaurant I wanted to own and perfect.
What was the original focus and has that evolved over the years?
Our focus has always been building the best burger possible, and we’ve done it! We have the best burger in NYC. We’ve spent a bit of time on our milkshakes, but the luncheonette experience has been consistent throughout.
What is your signature product and what makes it stand out?
Our burgers. They’re made with Pat LaFrieda beef, premium ingredients, secret spice blends, and I love eating them and serving them to our customers.
Why is Black Tap so successful in a difficult and competitive market like NYC?
We have an amazing product and care about our customers. We love seeing people come in from out of town and we’re so grateful that they’re willing to wait on line just to eat our food!
Black Tap is very well known through social media. What makes that wing of the business so successful?
We love social media. Our presence has evolved since we started and our following has grown so much. We do all of our own photography in house. We get great feedback, so we’ve looked at what’s been successful and use that to move into lots of different platforms.
What is your customer base like?
Everyone who likes burgers and milkshakes!
As a burger place, are you able to take advantage of online ordering? how has that worked out for you?
Online ordering has been great for us, because our original location is so small. We’ve been able to feed more people in the neighborhood at their convenience.
You recently participated in and scored a win at Dan’s Taste of Summer Grill Hampton event. How did that go and why are event like that important?
We were so happy to win at Dan’s Grill Hampton! We love that event and getting more time to talk to customers directly, especially outside of NYC where we’re currently located.
What do you see as the biggest trends for burgers in NYC and are you constantly changing your menu to reflect that?
I love the classic – American cheese, special sauce, potato bun, with fries and milkshakes on the side. We keep our burgers to the highest quality and offer specials all the time, whether it’s to show a new ingredient we love or to collaborate with one of our friends. Trends come and go, but the burger is forever.
What items are most popular and why do you think that is?
Our classic burgers and Crazy Shakes are definitely the most popular items on our menu because people love them! They’re delicious, nostalgic, and a lot of fun to eat.